The Smoking Ban Is Killing The Gambling Industry

When people sit down to wager their money away during an economic crisis, they like to smoke. Thanks to the nation’s anti smoking infatuation, that’s no longer possible. And it’s hitting the bottom line of casinos across the country.

WSJ: Nicotine, an old casino-industry ally, is now proving to be a powerful rival. Even relatively quick smoke breaks interrupt the in-the-zone mentality critical to keeping gamblers in play.

“Gamblers like to smoke and drink while they gamble. You’ve got three co-dependent bad behaviours that go together,” said Harvey Perkins, a senior vice president at Spectrum Gaming, a gambling consulting company in Linwood, N.J. Mr. Perkins, a former casino executive who has studied the impact of smoking bans on gambling revenue in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, has the ultimate insider’s perspective: He’s a smoker who likes to play.

“I’ve never experienced gambling without smoking,” he said. When a full smoking ban goes into effect in Atlantic City, N.J., casinos in October, he figures he will have to interrupt his gambling to have a cigarette. “I’ll get angry if I’m on a hot streak.”

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